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Concern mounts in many Indigenous communities surrounding the topic of cyber-bullying.

OCEANIA – A social welfare officer claims that social media is fuelling violence within Indigenous communities: “Lateral violence is a very serious issue for us and it can be described as malicious gossip that appears to cause the oppressed to become the oppressor […] It’s very much a factor for our indigenous communities”.

Concern has been mounting in many Indigenous communities surrounding the topic of cyber-bullying. With devices such as smartphones, victims of cyber-bullying can feel as though there is no escape.

On Friday, a national cyber safety program was launched. The program is targeted towards the indigenous youth. It will educate youths about online bullying, sexting, and how to manage their digital footprints.The program will consist of a range of animated videos and clips, posters and web content.

Richard Bean, ACMA deputy chairman stated, “It’s designed to start the conversation that will help young indigenous people and their communities understand how online actions can easily have real life consequences”.

Cyber-bullying has been linked to high youth suicide rates in remote Indigenous communities.

James Braithwaite of the Australian Federal Police said, “Younger and younger children are using the internet – that leaves them open to potential dangers, such as cyber-bullying, sexting, online grooming”.

Alex Ditton, Correspondent (Oceania)

Image Courtesy: Elias Bizannes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/liako/3141182898/), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic | Flickr

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